Nigeria arrives for World Cup, on time this time

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 10, 2014 at 10:44 pm •  Published: June 10, 2014

SAO PAULO (AP) — Nigeria was on time this time.

The African champion touched down for the World Cup as scheduled in Sao Paulo on Tuesday night from its pre-tournament camp in the United States.

A year ago, Nigeria arrived three days late for the Confederations Cup in Brazil and in disarray after a player strike over bonuses caused delays and threatened to throw the World Cup warm-up tournament into chaos.

Late Tuesday, the Nigerians were transferring through Brazil's huge commercial hub to their World Cup base in the city of Campinas, around 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Sao Paulo.

The 2013 African Cup of Nations winner will play Iran in its opening game in Group F in Curitiba on Monday, giving it five full days to prepare — luxurious compared to the 36 hours the team had in Brazil before playing its first match at the Confederations Cup last year.

Stephen Keshi's continental champions have arrived in Brazil off an unimpressive buildup. The Nigerians drew with Scotland and Greece and lost to the United States in warm-up games in Europe and the United States.

Along with Iran, the Super Eagles will also play Bosnia and Argentina in the group stage of the World Cup and are aiming to make the second round for the first time since 1998.

Belgium also flew in to Sao Paulo on Tuesday leaving three teams still to arrive for the World Cup: Ghana, South Korea and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal.